Linguistics Department

Colloquium - Ray Buchanan (UT Philosophy) "Conversational Implicature and Content"

Mon, January 14, 2013 | UTC 3.134

3:00 PM - 4:30 PM

Abstract: According to Griceans, a speaker conversationally implicates p only if she speaker-means p. Heck (2006) argues that once we appreciate a distinctive kind of indeterminacy characteristic of many cases of implicatures, we must reject this Gricean assumption. Roughly put, Heck’s observation is that there are cases where it is clear a speaker has implicated something by her utterance, but there is no particular proposition - other than what the speaker said - such that we can plausibly take the speaker to have meant, or intended to communicate, it. While Heck’s observation is not a problem for the Gricean assumption, it does call into question standard assumptions about the nature of our meaning-intentions, and the contents thereof.  What is needed, I argue, is an account of meaning and communication that allows that sometimes speakers merely *endeavor* to communicate many propositions without outright -intending to communicate any particular one.

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